Picture this: you’re onboard a luxury cruise ship, surrounded by the Caribbean Sea. You just spent the day exploring a Caribbean island. Maybe you went snorkeling, or relaxed on a perfect beach, before boarding to sail off to the next port. The sun is setting and you’re about to watch one of your all-time favorite bands play an outdoor concert by the ship’s massive pool. After singing your heart out to hit after hit, you run into the lead singer in the elevator on your way back to the room. It may sound like a dream, but a music cruise offers the chance to rub elbows with your favorite bands, plus enjoy a much-needed vacation at the same time.
So would you jump at the chance to see your favorite band on a luxurious cruise ship instead of in a sweaty club or a gigantic sports arena? These music-themed cruises give fans of all genres a chance to set sail on the same ship as their favorite artists.
Music and travel

It’s The Ship

Proudly advertising itself as ‘Asia’s Largest Festival at Sea’, It’s The Ship applies the tried-and-tested formula of booking bountiful dance music superstars on board their luxury craft, complete with all the mod-cons and leisure facilities that you’d expect. But beyond that, each year they also welcome a guest captain – David Hasselhoff and Big Shaq in recent editions – as well as an array of other curiosities, from Vegas stage shows to pop-up fancy dress parties. One of the best Music Cruises.
When: November
Route: Singapore, Phuket (Thailand), Singapore


Kiss Kruise

If six days of nonstop Kiss activities, including live shows and theme nights (think Love Gun, Dressed to Kill and Psycho Circus), sounds like your idea of a good time, then this is the music cruise for you. Feel free to use the devil horns hand gesture freely — Gene Simmons dropped his attempt to trade mark it.
Dates: October/November
Ship: Norwegian Pearl
Port of departure: Miami, FL
Itinerary: Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas; Falmouth, Jamaica
Artists: Kiss, The Darkness, Bruce Kulick, Steven Adler, Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown, Bob Schneider, The New Roses, Royal Bliss, The Dead Deads, Jake J and the Killjoys, Simply Queen

Groove Cruise

Lineup (2019): Kaskade, Aly & Fila, Hot Since 82, Markus Schulz, MK, Eli & Fur
Probably the most famous of the lot, the amount of work that goes into Groove Cruise is very impressive. From the sunny shores of Miami, the leviathan ventures out to Mexico’s Costa Maya – taking in the white sands, coral reefs, ancient monuments, and high octane adventure parks alike. All the while being soundtracked by a lineup of DJs befitting any top tier dance music festival.
When: January
Route: Miami (USA), Costa Maya (Mexico), Miami (USA)

Holy Ship!

Lineup (2019): Zhu, Malaa, Rezz, Skream, Jauz, The Black Madonna, Holy Goof
Another no-nonsense party at sea, Holy Ship manages to straddle the electronic underground and mainstream with its impressively packed lineups each year while not pulling any punches when it comes to production. Such is the popularity of the event, they now do two different sailings back-to-back each year, and have recently launched a new land-dwelling festival at an all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic
When: January
Route: Florida (USA), Bahamas

Soul Train Cruise

Nightly performances from funk and soul legends are the main attraction, but don’t forget: Soul Train was all about the dancing. The cruise follows in the show’s footsteps with lessons from the Soul Train dancers. After you’ve perfected your moves, hit up the nightly parties in Club Soul Train.
Dates: January
Ship: Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam
Port of departure: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Itinerary: Philipsburg, Saint Maarten; Frederiksted, St. Croix, USVI; Half Moon Cay, Bahamas
Artists: The Jacksons, The Isley Brothers, Johnny Gill, Cameo, Peabo Bryson, War, The Manhattans featuring Gerald Alston, Atlantic Starr, Regina Belle, Karyn White, Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes, The Family Store, The GAP Experience, The Urban Guerilla Orchestra, Barry White Tribute featuring Jourdan Carroll, Jason Miles – To Grover with Love Tribute

Venetian Opera

If you’re an opera fan, you’ll want to make space in your calendar for the Italian Premiere cruise (21 nights, sailing from 21 January 2020).
After taking in some of the most photogenic ports across the Med, guests will be treated to an exclusive performance from the world-renowned Venice Opera Company at the spectacular San Teodoro, the most prestigious concert hall in the city.
Cruising will be interspersed by Italian movie screenings on board, a visit to the Frasassi caves, a trip to a local farm to try local wines, and the option to take a helicopter ride in Gibraltar.

The Rock Boat

With five-plus stages, the Rock Boat lives up to its name, featuring dozens of bands. Music lovers will have plenty of opportunities to find a new favorite artist. If you need a break from the intensity, check out an acoustic set at the Spinnaker Lounge.
Dates: January
Ship: Norwegian Pearl
Port of departure: Miami, FL
inerary: Harvest Caye, Belize; Roatan, Honduras
Artists: Sister Hazel, NEEDTOBREATHE, Switchfoot, Tonic, Red Wanting Blue, Welshly Arms, Gaelic Storm, Carbon Leaf, Tall Heights, Melodime, Wideawake featuring The Kin, The Brevet, Amy Gerhartz, Animal Years, Brett Newski & The No Tomorrow

Blue Note at Sea

Jazz fans are no doubt familiar with the Blue Note name. The label has been at the forefront of jazz for almost 80 years. Don Was, the label’s president, helped dream up this cruise, which focuses on contemporary jazz musicians.

Dates: January/February
Ship: Celebrity Infinity
Port of departure: Miami, FL
Itinerary: Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; Labadee, Haiti
Artists: Marcus Miller, Robert Glasper, Don Was, Gregory Porter, Melody Gardot, Kamasi Washington, Christian McBride, David Sanborn, Kirk Whalum, Cory Henry, Cyrille Aimée, Joey DeFrancesco, Wycliffe Gordon, Aaron Parks, Gerald Clayton, Niki Haris, Sullivan Fortner, Joel Ross, Emmet Cohen, Eric Marienthal, Alonzo Bodd

The Country Music Cruise

In addition to several big country stars, this music cruise offers unique activities, like line dancing and celebrity meet-and-greets. For music-history buffs, a partnership with the Grand Ole Opry offers an opportunity to explore the genre’s vast history.
Dates: January 25-February 1, 2020
Ship: Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam
Port of departure: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Itinerary: Philipsburg, Saint Maarten; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Half Moon Cay, Bahamas
Artists: Larry the Cable Guy, Randy Owen, Tracy Lawrence, The Oak Ridge Boys, Pam Tillis, The Gatlin Brothers, Moe Bandy, Johnny Lee, T. Graham Brown, David Frizzell, John Berry, Exile, Ben & Noel Haggard, Wade Hayes, Tony Jackson, Linda Davis & The Scott Family, Chuck Mead and His Grassy Knoll Boys, Karen Hester – A Tribute to Dolly, Grand Ole Opry at Sea, Elvis tribute artists

The Outlaw Country Cruise

If your taste in country music leans more toward Johnny Cash than Garth Brooks, the Outlaw Country Cruise might be for you. With a lineup full of alt-country legends, this cruise is sure to feature memorable performances and artist-hosted activities, theme nights and more.
Dates: January 29-February 3, 2020
Ship: Norwegian Pearl
Port of departure: Miami, FL
Itinerary: Key West, Florida; Jamaica
Artists: The Mavericks, Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle & the Dukes, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Shooter Jennings, Son Volt, Elizabeth Cook, Waco Brothers, Carlene Carter, Kinky Friedman, Dale Watson and His Lone Stars, Jesse Dayton, Bottle Rockets, Robbie Fulks, Jim Lauderdale, Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams, NRBQ, The Long Ryders, Jason Ringenberg, Warner Hodges, The Yayhoos, Jesse Malin, Sarah Borges, Rosie Flores, Deke Dickerson, The Mastersons, Jaime Wyatt, Sarah Gayle Meech, Waylon Payne, Paula Nelson Band, Folk Uke, Heybale!, Dallas Wayne, Roger Alan Wade, Mojo Nixon

Monsters of Rock Cruise

Do you prefer a screaming guitar solo to the distant sound of a steel drum? Feel more at home in a mosh pit than at a spa treatment? Headbang on the high seas to over 30 heavy metal and hard rock bands on the Monsters of Rock Cruise.
Dates: February 8-13, 2020
Ship: Independence of the Seas
Port of departure: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Itinerary: Belize City, Belize; Cozumel, Mexico
Artists: KIX, Tyketto, Slaughter, DAD, Bang Tango, Heavy Pettin, H.E.A.T, Black ‘n Blue, Mac Sabbath, Lynch Mob, Kingdom Come, Pretty Maids, Tokyo Motor Fist, Lizzy Borden, Thunder, Keel, British Lion, Firehouse, Heavens Edge, Stryper, Steelheart, Honeymoon Suite, Winger, Y&T, Burning Rain, Shiraz Lane, Cold Sweat, Kings X, Faster Pussycat, Diemonds, The Atomic Punks, Autograph, Extreme, Enuff Z’Nuff, Vixen, Hardcore Superstar, London Quireboys, White Trash, Krokus

’70 Rock & Romance Cruise

Cheap Trick, America, Todd Rundgren and more of your ’70s favorites headline this ultimate yacht rock music cruise. Pack your platforms for a ’70s-themed disco party under the stars and work on your outfit for the costume ball.
Dates: February 15-22, 2020
Ship: Celebrity Infinity
Port of departure: Miami, FL
Itinerary: San Juan, Puerto Rico; Samana, Dominican Republic; Labadee, Haiti
Artists: Cheap Trick, America, Don Felder, Randy Bachman, Todd Rundgren, John Lodge, Jefferson Starship, Rita Coolidge, Ambrosia, Pablo Cruise, Stephen Bishop

The ’80s Cruise

The scoop: Celebrate the most gnarly decade of all time aboard this music cruise. ’80s kids will love the totally tubular activities, like Q&As with the artists, trivia contests and karaoke. Don’t forget to check with staff to see if your Members Only jacket is acceptable as formal wear.
Dates: March 8-15, 2020
Ship: Explorer of the Seas
Port of departure: Miami, FL
Itinerary: San Juan, Puerto Rico; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; Labadee, Haiti
Artists: The B-52’s, Bret Michaels, Berlin, Loverboy, Patty Smyth, Tony Hadley, Tony Lewis, Dire Straits, John Payne, Lita Ford, Midnight Star, The Motels, The Jets, Annabella, Brian Wilk, Brad Heron, Alan Hunter, Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Kevin Hamel

Flower Power Cruise

The scoop: Relive your hippie days in a much more luxurious setting while enjoying hits like “Happy Together” and “She’s Not There.” Really feeling the love? You can take part in a “Make Love, Not War” vow renewal ceremony at sea.
Dates: March 28-April 4, 2020
Ship: Celebrity Infinity
Port of departure: Miami, FL
Itinerary: St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; Nassau, Bahamas
Artists: The Hollies, The Zombies, The Turtles, Arlo Guthrie, The Buckinghams, The Grass Roots, Rare Earth, Vanilla Fudge, The Classics IV, The Outsiders, The Fab Four, Magic Bus Band, BritBeat

The Ark

The MSC Orchestra – a brand new ship for 2020 – sets sail from the iconic coastal city of Venice in mid-May, kickstarting summer with a selection of favourites from the world of house and techno as it explores the Italian, Slovenian and Croatian coasts. Not shying away from the biblical, The Ark has its very own ten commandments with calls for respect, care, and companionship among them.
When: 13-16 May 2020
Route: Venice (Italy), Koper (Slovenia), Zadar (Croatia), Venice (Italy)
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